Where Are the Rakestraws?
Ponderings, No.8 (June 14, 2018)
Robert V. Rakestraw, PhD
Early in March, 2018, Bob and Judy Rakestraw and Grace Quest Ministries (GQM) moved from Minneapolis to Phoenix. The GQM International Headquarters has a new address: 3033 E. Thunderbird Rd., #1056, Phoenix, AZ 85032. Their email address remains the same: firstname.lastname@example.org. They have no mobile phones but do have a home number available to those who request it. They are located in northeast Phoenix near an area known as Paradise Valley.
Instead of a four bedroom, two-story house with a deck, two-car garage and yard, the GQM director and his wife now reside in and serve God from a two-bedroom, ground-level apartment with a tiny patio and a carport (a covered parking spot). There are palm trees and mourning doves instead of maples and robins. They enjoy their new home!
I (Bob) apologize for taking so long to connect with you again. Since Judy and I came to realize in early September that our physical health issues were worsening considerably, we knew that we had to change our living situation in a big way while we were still able. We knew that we had to move. Our lives have been topsy-turvy since then, to put it mildly!
We have been focusing on our future and our move practically non-stop since September. Decisions of every kind – medical, legal, financial, real-estate, both in Minnesota and Arizona – have been almost overwhelming at times. However, Judy’s family members here in Arizona and our friends and loved ones in Minnesota have been very, very helpful. In addition, certain key individuals in the areas just mentioned have done superb work for us. Judy and I are extremely grateful to God for these highly skilled and industrious men and women. We are thankful beyond words to each of you who assisted us in so many vital ways! Because of you and many other special people our move to the Valley of the Sun was much easier than it would have been otherwise. Thank You a thousand times over!
The journey of the past nine months has not been easy for either of us. We each have major medical conditions for which there are no cures. Judy takes no medications and the ones I take are basically to keep me alive. Accepting and adjusting to our new realities have been difficult, actually very difficult: physically, mentally, psychologically, spiritually, emotionally, relationally, and volitionally. Fortunately we are able to live on our own for now, and by God’s grace and with the help of loved ones here we are able to keep our apartment running reasonably well.
We each know that our illnesses will not improve without miraculous interventions from our sovereign Lord. We leave our futures in the gentle, wise hands of God. We say with Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him!” I am not making some cute play on words here when I say that, due to our daily sufferings, “Though he chooses not to slay me, yet will I trust him!” We each long to go home, but only in our Father’s good time.
While almost all of my productive time (a few hours each day) is spent handling our high-priority matters (e.g., new medical insurance details, new doctors’ appointments, new legal-financial documents and arrangements), I am slowly moving back into some writing projects – mostly in my mind. I have been strongly tempted to throw such notions out of the window for the past several years, but God keeps boosting me and calling me softly yet firmly toward the work he has yet for me. I have no grandiose visions of future accomplishments, but I do long to be faithful to my amazing God who has led me so wisely and gifted me so appropriately to serve him, especially through writing. Very often over the years, and almost daily lately, I cry within me the words of Jeremiah the prophet: “His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones, I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot” (20:9)! By God’s grace, I will not!
Judy and I need and appreciate your ongoing prayers. Daily living is hard for each of us in quite different ways. Neither of us has ever experienced anything like this. Thank you so very much for your intercessions that have been used mightily by our Lord to bring us to this point of new beginnings. Please let us know how we may pray for you! The battle is quite likely intense in your lives and ministries also, and we want to join with you as you join with us! We are all in this together and we greatly need to lean hard on one another. We will remain strong as you (and because you) remain strong for us, and you will remain strong as we (and because we) remain strong for you.
Thank you once again for who you are to us! We never, ever want to be ungrateful! Blessings abundant to you and yours in Jesus our Lord! He is our coming King! We miss you! Stay in contact with us please, and forward this message to others who may be interested in our lives and ministries.
My website – also the site of GQM – is gracequestministries.org. If you have not done so, please sign up there so that you will receive future postings and pieces such as this without cost. I promise to not overwhelm your email inbox. I will try to get back to sending out something helpful to you once a month or so. Because of my limited time and health I will be using this site – especially the monthly postings – as our primary way of sending news and materials pertaining to our lives and ministries. I regret that I cannot manage several mailing lists for different groups, and that I cannot spend much time on Facebook or other social media. You may wish to order my life story, GraceQuest, and my book on prayer, Heart Cries, from my website, and copy any materials that may be beneficial to you and others.